When you hear the words “online marketing”, what comes to your mind? Social Media? Facebook? Search engine optimization? Blogging? WordPress? Or maybe you think about online advertising, pay-per-clicks, and search engine marketing. I believe there is one word that everyone thinks about when they hear the term “online marketing”, and that word is “difficult.” Online marketing is difficult.
Have you ever talked to a marketing guru about online marketing? Don’t they all give the same, vague, generalized advice when it comes to online marketing? First, they tell you to hire a SEO firm, then they tell you to blog, then they tell you to use social media, and after you’ve done all of this, they tell you that you’ll start receiving traffic to your website. Every marketing guru says the exact same thing, and the advice is always vague. Even the in-depth advice about online marketing is vague. Have you ever read an article about online marketing? Try this when you have some free time. Research “online marketing strategies” on Google and click on and read some of the articles. You don’t have to look past the first page on Google. Just read some of the top articles that Google returns. This is a compare and contrast exercise. Once you complete this, you’ll realize that all these articles sound the same. The first paragraph gives you a brief overview of what online marketing is and why it is so important. Then the list starts. Now after you’ve completed this exercise, you probably realize that the titles of the article all have something in common; they’re all formatted as a top-ten list. They all look like this: “7 Online Marketing Facebook Strategies to Increase your Fan Base.” Now, this isn’t problem. I like the top-ten list format. It makes the article more appealing to the reader. What I don’t like about majority of these articles is that almost everyone’s top-ten list is the same. They all give the same online marketing strategies and advice. I mean c’mon; these are the experts! These are professional writers, writing for some of the biggest companies in the world. Why do majority of the articles sound the same? Because again, online marketing is difficult! No one likes to be wrong or give bad advice. The writers are just writing the same vague, generalized advice that the marketing gurus say. I could go on-and-on, especially when it comes to online marketing workshops, but I’m not going to; I think you’ve gotten the point by now.
In this article, I’m going to attempt to do something that’s rarely done. I’m going to attempt to give you original and effective advice about online marketing. I’m going to be completely honest. I will not give you outdated strategies that do not work just to make my article longer. These strategies will work. How do I know? Because, I run a company and they’re currently working for me. I have experience in this area and I’ve made many mistakes in online marketing, so I know what works and what doesn’t work. So, without further ado, here are my online marketing strategies that will definitely help your business gain more exposure online.
Online marketing is all about the kind of content you’re creating. First of all, the best online marketing strategy is creating content. Hands down! Sure, Facebook likes, retweets and social media shares on other popular social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Reddit are cool, but do they really increase profits for a business? Think about it, how many times do you patronize a business because you liked their Facebook post? Exactly. I believe social media is very powerful but only works if you have great content. Content can be anything. It can be from a very nicely written article to a fashionable t-shirt with a clever phrase on the front. Content can really be anything. I believe majority of the businesses out there think that just posting a catchy post on Facebook along-side an eye-catching photo will increase their consumer base and ultimately their profits. This just isn’t true. If online marketing were that easy, everyone, including the average person would be an expert at online marketing. Anything in this world worth having takes hard work and time; the results from an effective online marketing campaign are no different. Creating great content isn’t easy; however, when you do create great content, there are so many resources at your disposal that could potentially help that content become viral. Have you ever saw a video on Facebook or YouTube that has hundreds of shares and thousands of likes? The reason that video went viral is because of the content. The average person isn’t a marketing guru and doesn’t have a social media budget; all they have is their imagination. That’s all you need to create great content.
So, now that we’ve established that creating great content is the best online marketing strategy, I’m going to show you how to create great content. As I stated earlier, creating great, viral worthy content isn’t easy. However, there are so many resources to help that content go viral; creating the content is really the only hard part. Creating great content requires research. You have to think about what’s trending in the world. Too many marketing gurus think that the only thing that can go viral is a funny YouTube video and that’s just not true. If you’re not funny, don’t try to be funny. You don’t have to be funny. Play to your strengths. You just have to be creative, persistent, and use your imagination. There are a lot of things that are trending in the world. Pick one. Create content about a subject that’s important to you. The more important it is to you, more than likely, the better the content will be. The next step is to create the content using a media that’s popular. There is a reason why videos are more likely to go viral than an article. A great article can go viral, but it will definitely take longer. People enjoy videos more; there’s no reading involved in watching a video. Your video doesn’t have to be aesthetically appealing and you don’t have to be an expert in video editing; it just has to be interesting. And don’t worry, you can always learn about video editing and special effects while making the video; it’s not exactly rocket science, it just takes a little practice. The next step in creating great, viral worthy content is relating that content back to your business. This might be the hardest part, but, if done correctly, is a game-changer. The ultimate goal is conversions, however, why do you need to convert people through the content? That’s the mistake that many marketing gurus make. Great content may not raise your profits right away, but it’s not supposed to. The purpose of content marketing is to raise awareness of your business. The profit gains will come in the future, not immediately. As long as the content relates back to your business (in some kind of way), you’re good. The next step in writing great content is your content has to solve a problem. Consumers have problems, even if that problem is ignorance, meaning, not knowing enough about a particular subject. Great content solves problems and enlightens consumers. That’s why great content goes viral. Consumers share things that they’ve recently learned because everyone has the inner-urge to help someone else in need.
So, let’s recap. The best online marketing strategy is creating great content. There are five steps to creating great content:
- Pick a topic that’s trending
- Use a popular medium to create the content (i.e. WordPress)
- Relate the content back to your business
- Make sure the content solves a problem or enlightens consumers about a particular subject.
- The last and easiest step in this process is to share the content, everywhere.
When sharing the content, use every avenue you can think of. Social Media, Blog, YouTube, PR, press releases, etc. Don’t be stingy. Great content is meant to be shared with the world. See, I told you I’d give you advice that actually works. Stop worrying about all that other stuff, like building backlinks using automated software. Google hates that anyway, but that’s another subject for another day. Take care!
-Content Creator and Online Marketing Director for PayPanther.com